[Video Production Tip] Shooting “B Roll” With Your Phone

Whether you’re planning to do a Shower & Showup™ video with us or you’re making your own videos, one thing that can make the production much more compelling and entertaining is by adding “B Roll”.

VideoActive Productions: Shooting b roll with your iphone or smartphoneB roll just means other footage or images that we cut to when editing. It literally refers to the second or “B” roll of camera film they used back in the day. Think about a news story – the A roll is for the news reporter and interviews, and the B roll would contain things like the street, buildings, cars, murder scene, etc.

It’s crucial to have other imagery so your video is not just a “talking head” the whole time. Since we’re primarily discussing business marketing videos and professional profile / meet me videos, you’ll want to get shots of your business environment or things that shows whatever it is your business does.

Here are some examples:

  • Shots of you at your desk
  • You on the phone
  • At your computer (shoot from behind, side & front)
  • You talking with clients
  • Your staff
  • Your office inside and out
  • Pieces from your portfolio or products
  • Customer site
  • Customer testimonials
  • You speaking at a group
  • Different places in your town

Try to think outside the box also –  really anything cool that you encounter is possible fodder for a future video.  Video editors like to have as much material to work with, whether they use it all or not.

You can often get pretty good shots just with your smartphone or an inexpensive flip cam. Audio and lighting aren’t as crucial here but still do your best.

Here are a few tips for shooting video with your smartphone:

  • Hold your phone sideways before hitting record
  • Try to use 720 resolution.  Typically it will say either 1280×720 or something like 720p.  Going higher than that will create very large files that are harder to manage and edit, and lower resolution won’t look very good
  • Make sure your lens is clean!
  • Hold it steady or use a tripod (google it: phone tripods)
  • Try not to walk around or pan while recording.  It’s better to stay in one place and record a little, then move to another spot and record some more.  Do things in small chunks / sections.
  • Get different angles of the same thing
  • Always try to get LOTS of light – open window shades and turn on lamps
  • Name your files with words describing what’s in the clip to help when editing later

Even if you decide to hire a pro, it’s still really helpful if you start collecting your own B roll footage. You never know what great shots you might capture out there in real life with your phone – so just keep an eye out for opportunities and tape them! It’s far better to get a mediocre quality shot of something cool than to not have it all!!

About the author

Mike Liebensohn

In search of truth amidst the human condition. Singer/songwriter at http://ParkwaySouthBand.com and Video Producer at http://VideoActivePro.com

Posted on by Mike Liebensohn in Video Production

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